Health Benefits Of Rosemary

What is Rosemary

Rosmarinus officinalis L, which we commonly refer to as rosemary, is widely used as a culinary herb due to its strong, pungent flavour. Rosemary is a tiny, evergreen shrub with thick leaves and is native to the sub-Himalayan and Mediterranean regions.1 Although it is an aromatic plant that enhances different flavours in a wide range of different foods and cuisines, it has been found to have many different health benefits. 

Rosemary has traditionally been used in folk medicine to treat intercostal neuralgia (nerve pain along the chest, ribs and abdomen), headaches, migraines, sleeplessness, emotional disturbance, and depression. It also acts as a moderate analgesic and an antispasmodic. Moreover, rosemary offers a wide range of medicinal and therapeutic effects due to its antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antitumorigenic properties. It also demonstrates many significant clinical benefits on our mood, memory, anxiety, pain and sleep.2 Due to its growing popularity and health benefits as a hair growth oil, rosemary has also recently gone viral on Tiktok and social media.

Health benefits of Rosemary

Boost the immune system 

Due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, rosemary can help boost the immune system and naturally fight infections. Scientists also discovered that rosemary contains a compound called carnosic acid could block SARS-CoV-2 infection and reduce inflammation as well as inhibit powerful inflammatory pathways in other diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Bacterial infection 

A study also found rosemary oil to be a natural antibiotic due to its antibacterial effect against different bacteria including  E. coli, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium perfringens. Rosemary contains rosmarinic acid, rosmaridiphenol, carnosol, epirosmanol, carnosic acid, rosmanol, and isorosmanol which all work together to provide rosemary with inhibitory effects against bacteria as well as health benefits.4 

Improve memory and sleep 

It has been found that rosemary supplements were found to decrease stress and anxiety and in turn, improve memory. A study also found aromatherapy using rosemary essential oil was also found to improve sleep quality as well as reduce sleepiness and allow individuals to feel more alert and focused.5

Analgesic effects

Moreover, rosemary has also been found to have mild analgesic qualities. Analgesics are medications that are used to relieve pain. Rosemary can be taken orally to help relieve pain, such as migraines and headaches. Even breathing the aroma of rosemary essential oil or simply rubbing it on the temples can help ease painful migraine symptoms. Studies also revealed when taken with analgesic medication, rosemary had therapeutic properties and helped with pain management.6

Anti Inflammatory properties 

The anti-inflammatory properties of rosemary in the body are among its most significant uses. Carnosol and carnosic acid, two potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances found in rosemary, have been associated with a decrease in inflammation of the blood vessels, muscles, and joints. As a result, it works well to treat conditions including high blood pressure, gout, arthritis, and injuries brought on by strenuous activity or surgery. Moreover, many studies have shown that rosemary's rosmarinic acid plays a significant part in treating inflammatory diseases through a variety of pathways and has anti-inflammatory actions that can be used to cure a variety of illnesses.7

Anti ageing  

As well as having anti-inflammatory properties, rosemary oil can also help with anti-ageing as it can help shield the skin against the harsh outside environment, such as pollutants, UV rays and the ozone layer. Due to its antioxidant properties, rosemary can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles by tightening and toning the skin, thus reducing the appearance of ageing on your face. A study also found that rosemary was effective against the negative effects of sun exposure, and rosemary was found to decrease skin redness and improve skin elasticity and wrinkledness. 8 It was recommended that when using rosemary for your face, rosemary leaf extract is a better option as rosemary oil contains a high concentration of fragrant compounds, which may irritate sensitive skin and do more harm than good. 

In addition, rosemary has a lot of vitamins and minerals that maintain healthy collagen levels and stave off ageing symptoms. Rosemary contains iron, calcium, and vitamin B6, which all support signs of ageing. Adequate amounts of collagen promote skin suppleness, reducing any droopiness you may notice on your face, thus, rosemary is a good collagen booster.

Hair growth 

Rosemary oil is a popular oil used for enhancing hair growth, particularly for those with alopecia. As well as promoting hair growth, rosemary oil was also found to nourish itchy scalps and protect hair against harmful UV rays and pollution due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been known to improve the appearance of hair by conditioning the hair strands thus allowing the hair to appear shinier and thicker. However, some experts recommend being cautious when using rosemary oil on your scalp as it can cause irritation due to its potency. 

Nutritional facts

Rosemary is packed full of vitamins and minerals, which contribute to its many health benefits, including potassium, sodium, copper, calcium, niacin and magnesium. It is particularly abundant in several B-complex vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin and pyridoxine. There are around 109 mg of folate per 100 g of rosemary herb, which is a high level. 

There is also a high level of vitamin A present in rosemary, with 100g of rosemary containing 2924 IU. Vitamin A has antioxidant properties and is essential for the healthy development and maintenance of the heart, lungs, eyes, and other organs.

Rosemary leaves also contain around  22 mg of vitamin C per 100 g, making them a rich source of this antioxidant. Vitamin C plays a role in protein metabolism as well as being necessary for the manufacture of collagen, L-carnitine, and certain neurotransmitters.

Lastly, rosemary contains 6.65mg iron per 100g of rosemary thus, it is a good source of iron. The body needs mineral iron for growth and development. Your body requires iron to create the proteins myoglobin, which oxygenates muscles, and haemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells and delivers oxygen from the lungs to all areas of the body.

Uses of rosemary

As well as having many health benefits, there are also other beneficial uses of rosemary. Due to its strong aroma and pungency, it can repel bugs and mosquitoes. Rosemary also has cosmetic uses and can be found in shampoos, soaps, perfumes and facial creams because it is a natural ingredient packed full of vitamins and minerals and has antifungal and antibacterial effects.

Rosemary can also be consumed as a tea, which has been proven to help with indigestion by reducing acid and gas and can also help with an upset stomach. Rosemary is also a diuretic and can be used to aid weight loss and increase urine output, which naturally reduces toxins in the body. 

Side effects and other concerns

Although rosemary is a natural herb, it is important not to exceed the recommended dosages. Rosemary leaf extract 1-2g per day and 2-3 cups if consumed as a tea (1-2g steeped in 150 ml water is around 1 cup). If taken orally then 2/4 ml 3 times daily. If using rosemary as an oil then the recommended dose is up to 0.1-1 ml (6-10% oil essential oil). It is important to note that rosemary does not have any known adverse interactions with other drugs or medications; however, you should still consult your pharmacist or doctor if you are concerned about its interaction with other medications you are taking. 

Although rosemary is generally safe, there may be some side effects when consumed due to its volatile oil content. 

Some side effects of rosemary include,

  • Kidney damage
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea 
  • Upset stomach
  • Seizures
  • Pulmonary edema 
  • Stomach irritation 

If you experience any serious side effects, then it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible. These include severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, weakness in the arms or legs, difficulty walking, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady, extremely stiff muscles, high fever, excessive sweating or tremors. However, these side effects are very uncommon and should not be worrying. 

If you are pregnant then taking rosemary supplements is not recommended as a high dose of rosemary may cause a miscarriage, thus you should remain cautious. 


Rosemary is an all round excellent aromatic herb that enhances the flavour of many different foods and cuisines but it is also packed full of beneficial nutrients and vitamins. It has been widely used in old folk medicine to treat conditions such as headaches, neuralgia and depression. In recent times, rosemary oil has been popularly used as a hair oil to help promote healthy hair growth, however, due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties it has many other great health benefits. This includes boosting the immune system, fighting against bacterial infections, improving memory and sleep as well as anti-ageing. 

Rosemary is also full of many essential vitamins and minerals which include potassium, sodium, magnesium, niacin and many vitamin B-complex vitamins. Rosemary can therefore be consumed as a tea to gain these excellent nutrients. Rosemary tea is also great for helping indigestion as well as being used as a weight loss aid. 

There may be some side effects with rosemary so you mustn't exceed the recommended dosages. It is also important that pregnant women are cautious when taking rosemary as this may cause a miscarriage if you consume higher doses of rosemary. 

There are several great health benefits of rosemary, which make this green herb advantageous in both cooking and as a natural supplement. 


  1. Sharon, M. Gwaltney-Brant. “Chapter 37 - Christmastime Plants”. Small Animal Toxicology, 2006. [Cited Feb 2023]. pp. 643-663. 
  2. Rahbarda, M. G. and Hosseinzadeh, H. “Therapeutic effects of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) and its active constituents on nervous system disorders”. Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences. 2020. [Cited Feb 2023]. 23(9), pp. 1100-1112. 
  3. Scripps Research. Compound in the herb rosemary may be useful against COVID-19 and other inflammatory diseases. [Internet]. 2022. [Cited Feb 2023]. Available at: 
  4. Nieto, G., Ros, G., & Castillo, J. “Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Properties of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, L.)”. A Review. Medicines (Basel, Switzerland), 2018. [Cited Feb 2023]. 5(3), pp 98. 
  5. Nasiri, A. and Boroomand, M. M. “The effect of rosemary essential oil inhalation on sleepiness and alertness of shift-working nurses: A randomized, controlled field trial”. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2021. [Cited Feb 2023]. 43. 
  6. A. Raskovic., I. Milanovic., N. Pavlovic., B. Milijasevic., M. Ubavic. And M. Mikov. “Analgesic effects of rosemary essential oil and its interactions with codeine and paracetamol in mice”. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. 2015. [Cited Feb 2023]. 19, pp. 165-172
  7. Luo C, Zou L, Sun H, Peng J, Gao C, Bao L, Ji R, Jin Y, Sun S. “A review of the anti-inflammatory effects of rosmarinic acid on inflammatory diseases”. Frontiers in pharmacology. 2020. [Cited Feb 2023] 11:153.
  8. Nobile V, Michelotti A, Cestone E, Caturla N, Castillo J, Benavente-García O, Pérez-Sánchez A, Micol V. “Skin photoprotective and antiageing effects of a combination of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) polyphenols.” Food & nutrition research. 2016. [Cited Feb 2023] 60(1):31871.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Sabiya Ali

BSc Pharmacy Science and Health University of the West of Scotland

Hi, my name is Sabiya and I am currently a recent graduate. I am passionate about science and particularly interested in women's health. I enjoy researching and writing articles which is why I decided to work for Klarity's public health library. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
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